History of Reiki

Usui Reiki’s origins stretch back to Mikao Usui who founded Reiki in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century. His system of Reiki was passed down from teacher to student through the years.

Reiki was first introduced to the West in America during the 1970’s. For many years the origins of Reiki and the story of Usui Sensei’s life (‘Sensei’ is an honorific term for teacher) were largely unknown in the West. Fortunately over recent years, thanks to the research of a number of key Reiki people a more factual history has come to light.

Mikao Usui – Founder

Mikao Usui (1865 – 1926) is the founder of Usui Reiki Ryoho – The Usui Method of Reiki Healing.

Usui Sensei discovered Reiki at the conclusion of a retreat on the sacred Mt Kuruma in Japan in 1922. He first used Reiki on himself and his family and after experiencing positive healing results opened his own clinic in Tokyo. He felt he had to do something that would touch the lives of others and he wanted to share the gift of Reiki with others.

Usui Sensei taught that wellbeing comes from keeping the mind and body healthy and by living well and true in the present moment with compassion and decency.

He developed the Five Principles to remind us of the foundation beliefs of Reiki which come from an active commitment to our wellbeing.

The Five Principles

Just for today, I will not anger.
Just for today, I will let go of worry.
Just for today, I will be filled with gratitude.
Just for today, I will devote myself to my work.
Just for today, I will be kind to others.

Reiki in the West

Hawaiian born Japanese-American Hawayo Takata opened her own Reiki clinic in Hawaii in the 1930s after training in Japan. It is Takata Sensei who is responsible for bringing Reiki to the West.

It is interesting to realise that until recently all Western Reiki taught outside Japan has been based on Takata Sensei’s form of Reiki. Unfortunately many inaccurate historical teachings have also been passed on over the years. It wasn’t until the late 1990s when Frank Arjava Petter and his Japanese born wife Chetna Kobayashi went to Japan that they began to uncover many of the original teachings and methods. In the last few years much of the way Reiki is taught in the West has changed as a result of the original teachings becoming available here and the more open interaction between Japanese and Western Reiki communities.

Reiki today

From the 1970s until today there has been huge growth in Reiki worldwide and there is now an active international Reiki community with a variety of lineages, teachers and practitioners. William Lee Rand estimates there now are over 4 million Reiki practitioners and at least a million Master-Teachers worldwide!